Ban La Tomatina, Ban Jallikattu?


Author – Levine Lawrence

La Tomatina

In an effort to liven up our boring lives, Google has doodled on the 70th anniversary of ‘La Tomatina’, the infamous annual tomato-throwing festival in Spain. Remember the protagonists of the Bollywood movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara having fun in Spain… yes, that strange yet quaint ritual of a tiny town named Bunol in Spain, where people gather in the town square and start throwing ripe tomatoes at each other. And then they get messy and romantic, and they kiss each other and clean up!

farmers trampling down tomatoes

I remember after the movie’s success in 2011, there were copycat event managers in India who wanted to organise a similar La Tomatina event in Bangalore and Mysore. Immediately our ever-active NGOs complained about it and over-zealous government swung into action to ban any such gross wastage of tomatoes. It was interesting that a right-wing BJP government in Karnataka took immediate action not only to prevent wastage of tomatoes, but also to shun such ugly imitation of the foreign culture.

While there is no disputing the fact that such an event would have been a sheer wastage of valuable food, which must be utilised for better purposes, there are so many other gross displays of wastage in India such as food wasted in marriage halls, water wastage due to overflowing tanks, rotting foodgrains in FCI godowns, etc. Our government and our beloved intellectuals are oblivious of the fact that tomato farmers in Karnataka were once prone to throw away their produce on streets as a mark of protest. In fact, I remember covering such a tomato throwing protest in front of Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru!


I really don’t understand why our society demands for banning everything. Our government sole purpose of existence seems to be abolishing all evils from our society. Remember Jallikattu… that strange and innocent bull-taming festival in Tamilnadu… Well-bred bulls are made angry and let loose onto the village roads, which are lined crazed up people, who are eager to latch onto the animal and hold it down. The daredevils who hold down the bull win prizes offered by the community. The dumb daredevils who couldn’t hold on, get trampled by the fierce bull and may even get killed!

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that this strange yet traditional sport be banned. Animal lovers across the nation rejoiced. But I am actually at a loss to know how this sport is cruel to the animal! The bull actually tramples down humans and injures them right? Further how can our hyper-smart government enforce this ban on Jallikattu, which is traditionally practiced across many villages in Tamil Nadu?

When will we ever understand that banning a particular act creates a bigger thrill for the person who violates it… Now comes the latest… the central government is considering steps to amend laws to allow Jallikattu!

Image Courtesy:, Churmuri,


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